STAFF WERE HID­ING IN THE TOI­LETS SAYS BRUCE

‘I’ve never seen any­thing like it’

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Mcmath

TALK about do­ing it the hard way. Hull are back in the big time af­ter an in­cred­i­ble cli­max to Steve Bruce’s first sea­son in charge.

The lev­els of drama were be­fit­ting a fix­ture of such mag­ni­tude, said to be worth up to £120m and the big­gest in Hull’s 109-year-his­tory.

A send­ing off, two penal­ties and two pitch in­va­sions – and that was just in stop­page time.

Bruce has guided Hull back to the top flight af­ter a three­year ab­sence to add a third Cham­pi­onship pro­mo­tion to his CV.

This, he said, capped the lot: “I’ve been in the game a long, long time and I’ve never seen any­thing like that. It was ridicu­lous.

“For sheer en­ter­tain­ment value, that last few min­utes was fan­tas­tic, but I was think­ing ‘why I am I putting my­self through this?’.

“We were wait­ing for the Wat­ford and Leeds game to fin­ish and there were peo­ple down in the tun­nel, cow­er­ing in cup­boards and hid­ing in toi­lets.

“I think that has to be up there on my CV, be­cause no one gave us a chance. It’s been such a strug­gle, we’ve had our three main strik­ers in­jured and brought peo­ple in on free trans­fers and loans.”

Even when Cardiff took the lead in the 49th minute, it was Hol­ly­wood plot­line stuff.

Kim Bo-Kyung’s per­fect through ball was tucked home by Fraizer Camp­bell, the striker who set up Dean Win­dass’ play-off fi­nal win­ner in 2008, when Hull last reached the Pre­mier League.

With Hull’s hopes of au­to­matic pro­mo­tion hang­ing by a thread, Bruce gam­bled, throw­ing on £2.6m mis­fit Nick Proschwitz. And what an af­ter­noon he had.

The Ger­man’s first con­tri­bu­tion was to miss a sit­ter from two yards af­ter Paul McShane headed down Rob­bie Brady’s cor­ner in the 51st minute.

But seven min­utes later, Proschwitz atoned, meet­ing Stephen Quinn’s cross for just his fifth goal of a dif­fi­cult de­but in English football.

With the ex­cel­lent Brady pep­per­ing the Cardiff goal with shots, Hull were on top.

They took a de­served lead when McShane, the only Pre­mier League sur­vivor in the team, side-footed home from Brady’s cor­ner for 2-1.

Things looked even bet­ter for Bruce’s boys in the 90th

minute when Cardiff were re­duced to ten men as Andy Tay­lor was booked for a sec­ond time af­ter foul­ing Ahmed El­mo­hamady.

Then, Ben Turner’s push on David Meyler in stop­page time gave Proschwitz the chance to com­plete his trans­for­ma­tion from zero to hero. Hun­dreds of Hull fans poured on to the pitch, per­haps think­ing the game was over.

It should have been but Proschwitz’s tame spot kick was par­ried away by David Mar­shall.

And two min­utes later, Cardiff were level when Nicky Maynard showed Proschwitz how it’s done, drilling home a penalty af­ter Ab­doulaye Faye was judged to have han­dled the ball dur­ing a scram­ble.

The fi­nal whis­tle trig­gered a sec­ond pitch in­va­sion of Hull fans, who were this time less jubilant, more hope­ful as they ticked down the min­utes un­til news of Leeds’ win in the de­layed fix­ture at Wat­ford meant it was time to cel­e­brate.

Cardiff boss Malky Makay, who played for and man­aged Wat­ford, said: “It wasn’t about do­ing any­one favours, it was about play­ing 46 games and see­ing where you end up at the end of it.

“I’m hugely proud of what we’ve achieved.

“From the first day of the sea­son, we’ve had a plan and we were or­gan­ised. At times, we were de­rided for not be­ing very sexy. But at other times were in­cred­i­bly sexy.”

Talk­ing of sexy, Bruce re­vealed his plans to cel­e­brate.

“How will I cel­e­brate? The way I usu­ally do,” he added.“I’ll have a few beers and I’ll put this big hor­ri­ble body of mine on a beach un­til it goes red.”

TEN­SION: Hull boss Steve Bruce as Nick Proschwitz takes their penalty

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

LATE CHAOS: McShane scores for Hull. Inset: Nick Proschwitz scores Hull’s equaliser

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